Question: How can I get my poinsettia to reflower next year?

Answer: Be certain that you actually want to go to all the trouble. Poinsettias get really large if they’re given one entire year of good growing conditions. The plant you got at Christmas was nothing more than an unrooted cutting in August. That’s how fast they grow. However, if you still want to try it, repot your plant once its bracts are no longer attractive. Prune it back by half or more, and plant it into loose, highly organic potting soil. As the plant grows, pinch the growing tips out every three or four weeks to keep it compact. Don’t over-feed it, but do give it really bright light all spring and summer. You may have to repot it another time or two, since it will be getting larger and larger. To bring it into flower, you should give it 14 hours of total and uninterrupted darkness each night beginning October 1. During the daytime, you’ll want to have the plant in full sunlight. Some folks misunderstand these directions, thinking that the plants need total darkness 24 hours a day. What you’re trying to accomplish is fooling the plant into thinking it’s later in the winter than it actually is by giving it those artificially long “nights.”

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